Competitive Edge Marketing Blog

In 2013, 31.5% of Australia’s population was under 24 years of age.

This is a high dependency market and although they are major consumers, many of them are still not working and many of them are casual workers if they are working.

They are therefore a drain on the economy in terms of taking education facilities and the infrastructure etc., compared to their contribution to the economy.

Those over 25 and under 54 years of age in 2013 are the major contributors to the current economy. They represent 42% of the population.

Many of them will still be undertaking educational studies, and some may be in a re-development of their career, but the majority of them are into their career, are starting to get married and begin the process of starting families.  This creates a huge population for consumption of goods and services and a taxation base for our economy to look after the bottom 31.5% of almost dependent residents.

The youth ratio dependency ratio is at 28.6% of the population.  As such, they are more than half the dependency population because the elderly dependency ratio is 21.5%, with a further 4.2% on support making up the difference.

This means that 42% population that are forming households, engaging in career re-development all in have spent and living their lives looks after the rest of Australia. This percentage is liable to decrease in the future as we face a digital economy with the lower levels of permanent employment, and with a large amount of infrastructure, mining and major projects employing  fewer people per million dollars spent.

The 55 to 64 year old age group which accounts for 11.8% of the population, when combined with a 65 years and over population (14.7%), totals 26.5% of the population.  While they are good consumers and they provide wealth to the next generation, in some cases they are major takers in terms of health care of age retirement and other expenses, and they are liable to live a lot longer than forefathers with the age being around the mid-80s before death.

With this long life expectancy, they will be drawing at a faster rate by those in the 25 to 54 year age group and may eventually, in the next 5 to 6 years, reach 30% of our population.


Is it any wonder that the tax dollars to the government to support our economy are decreasing and the government is looking for a higher retirement age to keep people in the workforce rather than make them dependent on the future generations’ earning capacity?

At the micro economy level small to medium businesses are noticing the changes as many of their customers are part of this group that are ageing and even consuming less.

I have recently worked for a second level player in the grocery trade at a national level in Australia.  They are facing an ageing population within their loyal customer base, and even within their customer base that shops around.  The result is that there are less purchases per shopping visit and less purchases per multiple shopping visits per week.

This is also reflected in department stores, which is why Myer and David Jones need to amalgamate.  They can talk about design labels and the top end of the merchandise, but it is the bottom end of the store that creates daily cash flow and gives the daily intake that is at risk as customers desert the stores and go to Kmart and Target style stores where they can buy sporting goods, clothing etc. suited to their more “retired lifestyle” and “essential” compared to the days when they were in the executive or office mode.

Our economists talk about China and their ageing population and potential slowdown and challenges to their economy.  However, at home, we seem unable to look in the mirror and see that this is happening to us at an even faster and greater rate.

With the huge infrastructure and large distance demands on Australia, together with most of our people living on the coast (urban population is 89%), and a greater “dependent” population bundled with “casual labour” market growth, adult obesity (28%), maturing workforce, the changing digital economy and poor productivity factors, the outlook is bleak long term.

Now comes the bottom line.002564a5d68410665f343c

The economy reflects the sum of all businesses and productivity outputs by enterprise and government Australia-wide.  If this is impacted on by ageing population and its two main characteristics of increased welfare and decreased consumption, thenthe economy and GDP is affected.  All businesses and enterprises at the lower, small or medium level are also greatly affected by the same factors and trends, and get less profit and pay less tax.

While government has been criticised business for not looking at the demographics and profile about ageing population and its impacts on every aspect of our life, economy, the labour market, enterprise etc. for the last 10 years.  It is, itself, guilty of the same neglect and understanding of the trends that are now largely responsible for the current malaise in business.

Most businesses do not look at their customer base, databases and transactions per customer etc., and plan for what is inevitable in the Australian market. They do not review changing operational size and scale, reinvent markets, products and services, or engage in strategic planning for this new future market mosaic.

Generally they do not value market reviews and business planning on a yearly or four yearly basis. They consider that it is “business as usual” and have not registered that the consumer profiles and sentiments are changing.

The facts above demonstrate that it will not be “business as usual”, and it will not be a smooth running economy as we enjoyed for the last 20 years because we are about to enter a huge state of dependency and change.  Even our trading partners, despite China’s great input into our economy, are going to be more global and less Asian/local, and they, too, are impacted by ageing populations that impact on their customer base and bottom line.

It is going to be essential to take a long hard look at the future customers that you have in your business, and understand their ageing and consumer product life cycle as they consume less in old age, and estimate the impact of this on their value to your business and its maintenance or growth of profit.


The greatest asset in the business is the customer, and the same trends that have impacted on the USA and reduced its wealth as ageing customers move into different sectors and vacated others to buy their goods or fulfill their wishes, will now occur in Australia.

You should be informed and should be making the appropriate decisions NOW.

Start your business planning through evidence-based market research today.

QR is short for Quick Response. The QR code was developed in Japan. You may see QR codes in a magazine advertisement, on a billboard, a web page or even on someone’s t-shirt. The reason why they are more useful than a standard barcode is that they can store much more data, including url links, geo coordinates, and text.

Many modern cell phones can scan them using the QR code scanner application. Once you have scanned the QR code, the information will be stored in your phone.

Business owners can now take advantage of this technology to send customers to their websites, landing page, contact details, videos, social media, brochure or discount vouchers.
The days of discount vouchers are disappearing. The technology of the QR code is now getting popular amongst businesses and customers. It is a fun way to get customers for your business. Business owners can publish the QR code on any websites, social media, email, mail and even magazines. They can also have the codes on banners hanging on the walls in businesses, restaurants and shopping centres. The best benefit is that the code can be downloaded on mobile phones, and then redeemed when customers reach your business location. These QR coupons can be shared from one smart phone to the other. This makes it a lot easier to have the coupon at any time and any place. This also helps in targeting a greater customer segment, and in getting customer referrals.
In term of SEO benefit, if you add QR codes to your website, the search engines (Google) will see that your pages have changed, and that you are updating pages. The search engine will see a new image and index it accordingly. At some point soon, the search engines will likely recognize QR codes and possibly index the content in them.
You can now easily generate a QR code online. There are many open source QR code generator such as and Google also has a tool to generate a QR code while shortening a URL.
Here are a few examples of how businesses and consumers are using them.
1. Business Cards
Put a code on your business card containing all of your contact information

2. Put It On A T-Shirt
Then people get sent where you want them to go

3. Put It On Price Tags In A Store
Taking them to a specific page online

4. Put It On Your Website Contact Us Page
People take a picture of your page on the screen, put you in their contact list

5. Put It In Print Ads
People scan the QR code to be taken to a specific landing page on your website

6. Send a Tweet
Scanning it sends out a tweet

7. Do A Location Login
Put on every table and the walls of your restaurant, does a foursquare login or a Facebook location login

8. Call Us To Place Your Order
Scan of the QR code dials your place of business.

9. Paypal Buy Link
Scanning takes them to Paypal to buy your item

10. Promote An Event
Scanning the code puts the event on customers’ calendar

There is a lot of interest in SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) today on the Internet for major companies.

Part of the interest in SEO is that companies now believe the Internet is highly competitive, and just as competitive as the Yellow Pages and other promotional platforms in the more traditional marketing environment prior to the arrival of the Internet.

They believe that they must match their competitors’ strategies, unique selling proposition and  basic keyword attractiveness to be competitive and gain clients online.

The other reason that SEO is important is that many firms believe that their competitors are slow and tardy, and do not react to the Internet in a positive and long-term investment way. The SEO provides them with a competitive edge in terms of gaining online unique visitors and traffic, and driving greater sales to the bottom line.

One major strategic area that is overlooked in terms of the Internet, and which has always obtained a competitive edge and traditional marketing growth and market share over time, is the concept of positioning.

POSITIONING was the traditional marketing strategy and means of gaining search engine optimisation in the pre-Internet period.

By positioning your company and differentiating its products or services, you were able to separate yourself from the mass competitor “bunch “. It enabled you to get ahead of them and position yourself into a cocooned area in the consumer’s mind where you could attract volume and paying customers, and be seen as special or unique – thus attracting ongoing and preferential business.

While SEO  uses unique keywords and key phrases that consumers use to search and identify companies that match their needs online, positioning used market mapping to identify the psychological and demographic “drivers” for customers that enabled companies to take up unique positioning to capture these market niches  by being seen to respond “best” to these groups’ expressed needs.

For Victorians, the best beer was Carlton Draught, while for those who live in Sydney XXXX (Fourex) was seen as the real (better positioned ) beer. In terms of SEO, both beers had keywords and phrases that appealed to their customer base, and both were better positioned in their own geographical area to meet targeted consumer needs. Of course, most of the positioning was psychological.

The Holden car was positioned as the Australian family car. In SEO terms, two key phrases would be “Australian car ” or “Australian family car” and two keywords “family” and  “Australian” would be essential, alongside the words “ute” or “sedan”.

Not much is new it? It has just changed. Although the way this is applied online and on the Internet is different, the concepts, the appeal and the market strategies are basically the same. The Internet is just like IT. It is an enabling tool and it works wonderfully when it appeals to the needs, desires, and other drivers in the consumer’s mind, whether it be business to business or consumer purchasing.

My view is therefore this: When looking at SEO, you should look at keywords and phrases, and you should survey the competition and the market leaders, and look at what they do to compete on their terms, but obtain better results.

You should, however, always be aware that what you are trying to do is to make yourself differentiated and appeal to consumers on your own terms. You always wish to position yourself away from the competition and position your organisation where consumers prefer your benefits, as expressed through the key phrases and words, that create satisfaction, choice and appeal for them.

Understanding your positioning is important so that you do not become competitive on key phrases and keywords alone, and get too close to your competition, and you do not mirror your competition, and as a result, lose your own important identity in the market.

If your competition decreases price and takes a small margin will you? I do not think so. The same applies to SEO. Will you go with your competitors’ SEO strategies to the detriment of your individual market positioning and long-term market share and return?

Common sense says that you will not, and that really what you want with your SEO strategy online is a balance between pre-determined market positioning , competitive keyword analysis, and better strategies for your organisation over the competition for a superior or optimum return.

A fusion of traditional marketing positioning and new online SEO optimisation strategies.

With the advent of online market surveys, and with the access to survey technology and  survey programs increasing, there is a feeling that anyone can do market research and survey complex and sensitive issues in the business world.

The problem is that with market research experience, having a feel for what works and doesn’t work in getting respondents to participate, answer correctly, and complete a survey, is an important attribute in the final results and analysis that is received for strategy development.

Merely having an idea of questions you would like to ask and the tools to do it, is not enough to create great surveys. Great surveys that elicit good responses give insights, both qualitative and qualitative, to customers sentiments, emotions, advocacy and consumer behaviour.

I often see many surveys that are very “Mickey Mouse ” in terms of the lines of inquiry, the depth of investigation, the structure of the questions, and the progression of questions from easy too hard, that are inadequate to get great results for those conducting them.

Quality strategic research is becoming very important now because of the escalation in changing patterns of consumer behaviour and technologies, such as mobile phones.

Companies and government should be researching more often than they do, and with more understanding on how to gain insights through professionally commissioned research.

They will not find it difficult to get responses, and when they do it professionally, the types of responses they get give them greater knowledge and insight to the strategies they wish to consider as options, or changes to existing marketing or business practice and strategies.

Like any other profession, market research is rewarded by experience over time. This gives greater insight into what works and what does not work . It develops an appreciation of the questions that need to be asked because researchers understand the analytical tools and the types of information that will be yielded by question, types question , and the particular wording of the question that makes it contribute to a unique understanding of consumer behaviour.

Experienced researchers also understand what works and does not work in motivating, and continuing to motivate respondents to commit to completing a survey. This can minimise incomplete surveys and give a great result that impacts more fully on the firm, its consumers and the bottom line.

Taking research shortcuts because you have enabling tools, is the same as creating your  own website design, conducting search engine optimisation and generally engaging in online promotion, advertising, and publicity because you understand WordPress.  It simply does not work that way, and that is why the IT industry is separate from the marketing industry.

The next time you consider doing insightful and meaningful research and commit large amounts of money in management time, resources, and development time to understand and change consumer behaviour or promote and develop markets for your organisation. . . . think again.

A professional market research practitioner can get you there more effectively and efficiently at lower cost than the half-arsed, half measured DIY variety work.  

There have been early signs about that the Australian economy is starting to slow down and may move into decline during May /June 2013 prior to the federal election

A knowledgeable and leading expert in the environmental science area ,who has been working closely on major mining projects around the world and in growth areas such as China and north Africa said recently to me that the only thing between the Australian economy and a decline is the mining industry

Well ,the mining industry has recently shown some stability to decline activities and this may be part of the reason that we will see a further shift in the Australian economy along with retail sales and other sectors such as Manufacturing that supports the Auto industry and large infrastructure projects.

Is this all Gloom and doom ?

No ,not really because we have had a very good period of high-growth in the Australian economy and we have all enjoyed great affluence as individuals and corporate enterprises

There just comes a time when there is an adjustment and this is bought on by the external economies in Europe and America was in Asia and our own overspending and inefficiencies created in the government market ,and our reluctance to invest in Manufacturing and sectors that are important to us in Australia. The lack of investment in education ,apart from creating an Export industry is a good example of short term takings over long-term gains . We could have been the best in Asia !

Marketing wise its a good opportunity for us to sharpen our strategic knives and get into the business of analysing where we are in the market .We should analyse our businesses for those services and products where we should be sure be spending our promotional and sales effort

The 80/20 rule becomes important and the structure of our service and product portfolio does too. We do not want too much dependence on government business because this is where there will be budget cuts going on in the downward growth . We do not want to depend on one or two key customers because If they cut their budgets then we are in strife

What we must do is think about how we’re going to promote and sell to our existing customer base and to the reference base because we do not want to invest a large amount of money in trying to capture new clients and markets because this takes too long

A major area that was not there several years ago is the online marketing and online communication platform for the company or enterprise . Of Paramount importance is the maintenance and upgrading of your website so that is Contemporary easy to navigate and has good look and appeal

If you have a good website then it must be functional ,easy to act ,on with a call to action in the contact section of the website ,and it must be compared to the competition for performance

By being competitive I mean it must appear on page one or two of Google and it must be competitive with your closest competitors that you should be identify on a weekly and monthly basis

Search engine optimisation that identifies you and your strengths online versus those of your competitors is not a luxury ,but a necessity in today’s competitive market

In addition you must maintain strong brand equity and identity as this is important in attracting existing ,prior , and reference customers to which you will now depend

You also need to understand the investment effective advertising

If you have not been spending on your website or on promotion and advertising or payment for a click campaigns then you will not be able to ramp up your competitive positioning overnight

Even expert SEO activities cannot guarantee you a turnaround within 3 to 4 months so now is the time to get your search engine optimisation going and to get the blogs, social media , and support and even redesign of your site happening so you can gain from the investment before the plunge comes

Investing to late will give you a great result at the end of the downturn and will not give you that was all you need at the beginning ,which is when you need the return

The investment effect says that advertising builds the investment effect overtime as distinct from the Mere writing off of advertising dollars . That if you do not do this early on you cannot benefit from it when you need it most and your competitors are close to you in trying to gain business

Conversely those competitors who do not invest in their online marketing or communication platforms and normal marketing promotion and sales will lose because they cannot quickly get the returns based on immediate access and effectiveness for the dollars spent

Time to marshal your strategies and your knowledge and get to work and it will payback handsomely and may even give you an opportunity to take competitive market share

Business Growth doesn’t happen by itself or with business skills alone. Besides huge investment, every business should have a defined vision and Marketing Strategies that clearly communicate the steps to get there.  Effective strategic planning though it seems time consuming is essential for every business to witness long-term success.

Business planning consultants help you to make positive changes and are sure to help you comprehend your company’s recent and future growth prospective. If you prefer marketing a new product or else looking for embracing new opportunities and expanding your operations, then you must implement the most efficient, effective way to reach your target audience. It will make a critical difference to your long-term prospects.

In the field of business to actively grow your brand, you should continually pay attention to the drivers of market demand and be ready to face risks and challenges that come along. A strategic plan in general focuses on mid to long-term goals and explains the vital strategies for achieving them. Strategic Business Planning includes the following study:

  • Business trends analysis
  • Market analysis
  • Competitive analysis
  • Market segmentation
  • Desired Marketing-mix
  • SWOT analysis
  • Positioning – analysing perceptions
  • Strategies – Execution

Prioritising goals and setting measurable goals are vital in developing a strategic plan. The plan serves as a systematic management tool for problem solving and it is often iterative and evolves considerably over time. For developing the strategic plan, you need to do Industrial Market Research note certain things such as where you are, what your business objectives are and define ways & means to reach them, and “near” and “for” competitors.

When developing strategies Business Consultants analyze your organizations by evaluating the current competitive state and thinking of the goals to achieve and draws the ideal image to accomplish them. By communicating your goals and drawing out opinions of different people involved and brainstorming to come up with the “path” you need to follow to accomplish your business goals you need a formalised strategic plan. The strategic plan pays attention to achievement gaps and assists you to seize opportunities that support your business growth through organising the best strategies in the most logical time & cost sequence.

Industrial Market Research and analysis provides you data that can help to put your business in the best position to survive or grow in this competitive market. You need to have a plan that helps you adopt changes and achieve the set milestone in a timely fashion. We at Competitive edge provide a Feasibility Study followed by new business market plans that align with business plan needs and opportunities to help you achieve desired results.

Research, Strategy, Marketing, Performance